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Reviews of 'Other' Spirits: A bit of (forced) fun

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By @RianC @RianC on 23rd Jan 2019, show post

Replies: page 2/3

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@fiddich1980 - thanks for all of the details on the Harris Gin. I will see if I can find a bottle for my wife. It would make a great gift; she loves Gin, beautiful bottle and since we’ve been to Isle of Harris, a great memory of our trip there! Thanks again!

about one year ago 3Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@fiddich1980 - May I ask how / where you purchased your bottle of Harris Gin? I’ve been searching on-line and can’t find it anywhere other than the Distillery and they don’t ship to the states. Thanks!

about one year ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@bwmccoy

It's listed as available in some LCBO stores but not for online purchase.

I can definitely rescue a bottle or 2 for you. The big problem, of course, would be getting them to you. But we DO play the long game.

Private message me if you want to set something up.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@KRB80
KRB80 replied

Not a review but my buddy who owns a liquor store recently let me try a bunch of different high end Mezcals. To say it was an eye-opener is an understatement!!! Now I have to start reading up on it and doing research. So fascinating.

about one year ago 4Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

Kinsip Duck Island Rum (45%). This rum from the Prince Edward County micro-distillery is distilled from Barbados-style molasses and demerara sugar, then aged for 3 1/2 years in charred American oak barrels. The barrel number given is 81,141,154 (hm so they have 81 million barrels of this?)

The colour is a deep copper. On the nose I get sour apple, plasticine, rubber tires and fermented cabbage (none of those are necessarily bad). Underneath it all is that dark molasses sweetness. 21

The palate is extremely rich with stewed dates, burnt caramel, bovril and heavy oak. Very nice though seems a bit young for a dark rum. 22

The finish is long but a bit rough with more oak, cloves and deep dark molasses. 21

A bit rough around the edges but surprisingly, a decent rum from an Ontario micro-distiller. 21

TOTAL: 85

about one year ago 4Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@Nozinan - Wow! Thank you for your most generous offer. I really appreciate it. I just can’t imagine any way that I could get the bottle from you. Thanks again!

about one year ago 0

@RianC
RianC replied

Not had a drink for days but @talexander 's post has made me recall my enjoyment of Cadenhead's Classic Rum. Opened a couple of weeks back, I was really impressed. Apparently, it's a blend of 5 - 10 year old Guyanan rums bottled at 50% with no colour or CF.

Nose - Molasses, vanilla, touch of smoky char, Medjool dates and other dark, dried fruits with a little tobacco and chewy toffee. A classic rum nose indeed and very pleasing.

Taste - Starts sweet with molasses, brown sugar and vanilla Coke but then becomes drier and more herbal with traditional cola syrup/herbal notes. This transition is most pleasing and I suspect is due to the lack of additional sugars. Mouthfeel is 'grippy' and thick.

Finish - isn't all that long, medium at a push, but it fades nicely to some treacle and soft burnt sugar notes. Really makes you want another sip.

I have limited experience with rums but I do tend to like this (Guyanan?) dark rum style and this is as good an example as I've had. The natural presentation is really helping this I feel and I do like how it goes from sweet to herbal and dry. When I first opened this my initial thought was 'This aint lasting long!'

Score - 87 but a very good 87 if you know what I mean?

about one year ago 3Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RianC I’ve Never had extraterrestrial spirits before, certainly not El-Aurian. But I started watching STNG late.

I think the style of rum you’re Referring to is Demerara rum, which is a common Guyanese style. I think Lemon Hart 151 is a Demerara rum.

I’ve been the recipient of several samples of rum lately, which I will have to sit down with. I also picked up a special Havana Club DF expression that I have been told is a “whisky lover’s” rum.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Nozinan - . . . to boldly misuse suffixes like no-one has misused them before laughing

I had to Google Lemon Hart 151, blimey! I'd imagine it's similar to Gosling's 151 which I've been on the lookout for; although I get the feeling such spirits are designed to be mixed rather than sipped?

Can't say any high proof rums I've had have been improved by adding water or ice to a neat pour - usually kills the flavour and brings out more raw alcohol.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RianC

A drop or 2 to a 10 cc pour of LH 151 really opens up the experience.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

For you people who enjoy drinking good gin straight - what type of glass do you prefer to use? A friend has a birthday and he hates whisky but loves decent gin. I thought some glasses might be a nice idea but not entirely sure what would be best. Opinions?

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Hewie - Funnily enough I was just thinking I might do a review of Roku gin later . . . As for glassware, I'll probably just use my Glencairn but a snifter might be a better option especially for the nose? Maybe a brandy snifter, as they're quite versatile, would be a good gift?

about one year ago 3Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@Hewie - I usually use my standard tulip whisky glass when sipping gin, but @RianC’s suggestion of a brandy snifter sounds like a good idea as well. I’m going to try that next time I have some gin neat.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

Roku Gin from Suntory @43% - This must be my first gin review but will say that apart from whisk(e)y gin is probably the spirit I've had most contact with, certainly in the last ten years or so. This has the 'usual' botanical suspects but then has six (Roku = 6 in Japanese, so I've learned) local botanicals including cherry leaf and blossom, sencha and gyokuro green teas,yuzu and pepper. (@JasonHambrey)

Nose - Delightfully floral (I'm inclined to say cherry blossom but I feel that's suggested rather than actually smelt) with citrus (orange and lemon rind) and a hint of pepper alongside that classic juniper note. Very nice and complex for a gin; there's absolutely zero raw alcohol. I'm searching for some grain notes but am drawing a blank . . .

Taste - oily with citrus notes to start and then a sharp punch of coriander seed. Some juniper and floral teas as it develops.

Finish - Pepper comes out again but it's like a pink pepper (is that Japanese pepper?) and not as spicy as black. Juniper is strong at the end and the tea is here again with some light tannins. Edit - 5 minutes later and I can still taste some coriander seed and juniper bitterness.

Well, this is a great gin - so clean and delightfully put together - in fact I almost feel this is too good for mixing as there's so much to engage with neat. It does make a cracking G&T though (with a good tonic, of course!). We did some home made gins last year and doing this review is really making me appreciate what a learning experience that was - the coriander is particularly pronounced and that's something that's never really jumped out at me until we overdid one of our batches with it.

I'd give this 89/100 and would recommend to any gin fan!

about one year ago 7Who liked this?

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey replied

@RianC likewise. I love it. The lack of grain character that you pointed out - I agree. It is an interesting point of preference - I actually really like gins where there is a grain character prominent, i.e., the grain was used to contribute more than just alcohol - yet the clean nature of some gins without grain character is also appealing.

It makes me wonder if, down the line, I'll tend to favour the heavier, grainier gins more than the cleaner, elegant ones - as I do my whisky. But, for now, I like both styles.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@KRB80
KRB80 replied

I've been on a mezcal bender as of late and reading, tasting, buying as much as I can. Here are a few quick thoughts on the stuff that I have opened so far....

Del Magguey Madrecuixe: Lot: MAD-141 On the nose it's slightly smoky with a bit of earthiness, vegetal, juicy fruit gum, mango, and pineapple. Initially the taste is roasted agave/vegetal and peppery then morphs into delicious tropical fruit bomb with mangos, papaya, pineapple, lots of juicy fruit gum that slowly fades away to a chalky finish with a touch of cinnamon. I love this.

Del Maguey Chichicapa: Subtle smoke on the nose along with earthy, dusty, and vegetal notes…nothing too big. The taste changes all that though. Fruity (lemon/lime), earthy, vegetal, minty (spearmint), and some smoke all in one balanced package. Peppery/piney finish with subtle notes of burnt rubber. It’s a classic for a reason.

Los Nahuales Metodo Antiguo: Lot 02A/18, 52.4% ABV The nose is initially quite muted with notes of acetone but opens up wonderfully after a few minutes with truckloads of berries, white grapes, and vegetal roasted agave notes. The taste is slightly mineral with pez candy, roasted agave, mango, strawberries...loads of bright fruitiness. It finishes with a peppery kick and tropical fruitiness. This is a very bright, fruity, and zippy espadin with a full-bodied mouthfeel. I know that it goes against the entire philosophy behind this release (diluting the abv with the "puntas") but a couple drops of water opens everything up even more. Wonderful espadin.

Nuestra Soledad Lachigui: Edition 5 from 2016. Batch: PV0ES081117NS Very faint whiff of smoke on the nose. Predominantly fruit forward (white grapes, honeydew melon) with some chalky element going on. Flavor is also very fruit forward, extremely mineral, wet cement, clay, a bit perfumy, and a touch harsh on the finish. More perfume on the finish which I think another reviewer nailed when he said it’s reminiscent of jasmine; which I’m not a fan of. I’d prefer some more vegetal notes and less perfume/floral but it’s got a good stuff going on too and it’s obviously quality…just not my preference.

Derrumbes San Luis Potosi: The nose very “green” akin to jalapeno/poblano peppers with undertones of cheese…perhaps a touch of onions in there as well. Basically, it smells like jalapeno poppers in a glass. Taste is more of the same with a pepper spice kick. The green pepper flavors cling to your palate forever. I am literally still tasting it 30 minutes later. Overall, a solid and distinctive mezcal that pushes a lot of great buttons and is an absolute bargain. I just wish that it had a higher ABV which I venture would bring out more depth. I recently had a taste of a Mezonte Jalisco Raicilla that shared a lot of these flavors with tons of extra depth and complexity and blew my mind.

about one year ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum. Made from two types of pot stills, this is then matured (exclusively, I think) in warehouses by the Thames - so a Jamaican/English hybrid?

Well, whatever, it's really good rum (easily my fave so far) and considering it sells for around £35 it offers great value. It also seems fairly widely available. It's bottled at 57% and is NCF. The bottle has been open a few month and is about 2/3's full. Review is neat.

Nose - Heavy and dense with rich butter scotch toffee, pungent, ripe tropical fruit notes, a little burnt sugar and is that a little salty whiff? It has a, and I'm at a loss to find a better word for it, kind of funky, 'off-note' that really works with the sweetness.

This had a mere tinge of alcohol when first opened but, while you can tell there's some strong booze in your glass, it is never nippy or harsh.

Taste - (I've just had a sneezing fit and seem to have buggered up my nose and palate but I shall persevere) That off-note is prominent but it then develops into more butter scotch and pineapple fizz bars (Roy of the Rovers bars, anyone?). Thick and nicely cloying mouthfeel. Not too sweet with a good balance of flavours. Moves towards a drier finish.

Finish - Med - long. Becomes drier with some oak and tannins rounding things off nicely. Some of that creamy, buttery sweetness lingers all the way through - it kind of 'nips' the tongue like peat does.

Not at all complex but what it delivers it delivers big-time ! That unusual funky note, that I'm assuming is the rums soul, gives it a very unique taste and smell and makes this rum very well-suited to someone who likes strongly flavoured whiskys. It's big, bold and punchy and very much 'up my alley'.

90/100

about one year ago 6Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RianC I get the distinct impression of nutmeg. In fact when I traded away a bottle of this I wanted to give a sample but I didn’t have an open bottle, so I actually gave a piece of nutmeg with the bottle.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

Rum Sixty Six from Foursquare. 12 years old, tropical aged, NCF, @43% and most likely uncoloured. 100% Bajan rum. I believe this is matured in ex-bourbon and is then shifted to first-fill Jack Daniel's barrels for the last 3 years.

Bottles been open a few weeks with about two thirds left. Review is with a literal drop of water.

Nose - big hit of traditional cola (so some drier, herbal touches) vanilla and delicate notes of clove and nutmeg. Less sweet than most runs I've come across with some ripe banana and coconut water.

There is a little alcohol present neat but a drop of two of water, and a little time, sorts it out nicely.

Taste - that cola sings the loudest with the baking spices coming out as it develops.

Finish - relatively short and dry with some barrel char and hot cinnamon notes.

RRP is £35+ but I snagged this for £28. So glad I did as this is just what I wanted - a light, easy going sipping rum for summer that isn't too sweet. It's not my bag, really, but I bet this would work well with Coke. Very decent.

87/100

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

I’m posting this article here rather than start another malternatives thread. It’s an interview with Richard Seale of Foursquare that I found pretty interesting. Interview here

5 months ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

I'm reviving this thread, I have rum reviews I want to post but not sure if using the Rum Ruminations thread is appropriate? I'll post on over there if y'all think that's best.

Many of my memorable spirit experiences in the last couple of years have been rum and I've decide to delve back into what that world has to offer.

I'll start with a Clairin review, a quick primer.

Clairin/Klérin is the original spirit of Haïti, while the island boasts only one major Rum producer in Barbancourt, the island is doted with over 300 different Clairin producers, ranging from the most elemental set-ups to ones that are quite elaborate. Each one is unique and different, there isn't a unifying manifesto on how to make this rum other than that it is a sucarcane eau-de-vie so no molasses, either fresh pressed juice or syrup & natural fermentations. The producers are often the ones growing the cane themselves, using older more flavorful varieties, Most Clairin is consumed locally and very little of it is aged or at least it is not something that is common especially considering the artisanal nature of most operations.

Italian importer Velier has been bottling/distributing the rum from 4 selected producers for a couple of years now, while they have helped to raise awareness of this category, like many a Colonial force they have sought to become the de-facto for what Clairin is and have tried a few times to corner the definition of the product. I am divided as I appreciate being able to try these great unique distillates, I am a bit weary of how much of the producers work is really being represented by them and being paid for adequately. This is a pattern we see repeated a lot in rum but another great analog would be Tequila/Mezcal.

Velier now represents 5 different houses (Sajous, Casimir, Vaval, Le Rocher & Sonson), these are bottled at still strength often between 49-55% ABV and I feel this does a good job of giving a glimpse into how diverse the category can be, these are all unmistakably unaged sugarcane distillates but each is really so different than the other. They also produce a vatting of the first 4 houses at 43% called Clairin Communal, it's a really nice product geared towards cocktails but really quite nice on it's own.

The Velier Clairins are quite easily available in the EU/UK online retailers and there's also been a big push in the US so many of the better retailers have them especially online.

There's good news on the horizon as there are a few independent Clairin producers being sold in the US as well so I'm hoping this helps release Velier's hold from the market.

I've included some links for anyone interested in reading more or seing some cool pictures of really artisanal AF distilling set-up, some of these are extremely biased but I think are useful.

inuakena.com/spirit-reviews/…

www.liquor.com/articles/clairin-rum/

chambersstwines.com/Articles/11171/…

about one month ago 4Who liked this?

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@OdysseusUnbound

@cricklewood Any thoughts on the recent Luca Gargano/Clairin situation? I’m way too ignorant of Clairin and Haitian culture in general to comment but Gargano’s comments and images seem tone-deaf at best and condescendingly racist at worst.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

Ok now the blab is done, a review

Clairin Communal Ansyen - "Clouds Taste Metallic"

18-24 months, 49.3% ABV

From the La Maison du Whisky site A blend of four traditional Clairins aged for 18-24 months (Sajous, Vaval, Casimir and Le Rocher) in ex rum-casks (Bielle, Caroni, Mount Gay, etc.) and ex-whisky and ex-whiskey casks (Benriach, Widow Jane, Buffalo Trace, Jack Daniels, etc.)

Nose: Grassy, lemon peel, nice sugarcane juice notes. lots of tertiary fermentation notes, savoury, a little anchovy, a touch of menthol, slight acetone but not unpleasant. a little oak & teriyaki sauce?

Palate: Sweet, dark, lovely lime/eucalyptus notes, a little berries and then it veers into dark into Dutch licorice territory, a touch of nutmeg, it is slightly metallic.

Finish: Long finish stays with you but, tannins are in control, just a lovely lime, olive and slightly tangy sweetness.

88/100

Notes: Really lovely a completely different take on a lot of "agricole" style rums, the blending works to it's advantage. Wow only 18 months in oak and I think the balance is perfect, I am uncertain more time would really benefit it. The nose is the weakest part of this but that long finish really lovely.

The reviews of aged Clairin are all over the map, many fearing they lose their "special" nature with the wood coming in to soften them. I think it's best to accept it as something else but perhaps short time in wood like this one might be best in order to avoid the whole experience becoming generic.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@OdysseusUnbound I have lots of thoughts but I'll try and keep it brief.

Knowing about Haitian culture isn't necessary to see the broader issues some folks have brought up.

How Luca and Velier have sought to codify what they deem to be "Clairin" and how one can cast doubts on their motivations for doing so. How There are over 300 producers on the island, representing 5 of them hardly gives you the right to decide what the this drink is and isn't. Broadly they were trying to control what the category could be perceived as internationally so their Clairin would become the de-facto standard.

There is the question of lack of transparency in if these producers are being fairly remunerated, perhaps it's a good arrangement for them to simply let someone else handle all the marketing/distribution etc. but have they been given a fair shake?

How often they choose non Haïtian or even POC to represent the product in different markets is problematic to say the least especially again when all these folks are always speaking from a position of authority. If we see where the world of agave spirit has ended up where many of the indigenous folks producing the product are at best used simply as tokens or at worst completely erased by luxury brands and celebs who are now all of a sudden about this product.

This pattern is repeated all over the rum world where few distilleries are actually owned by BIPOC or let alone people from the producing Island, think Plantation's Alexandre Gabriel's hijinx, or why you never see anyone but Richard Seale representing Foursquare, you literally never see his employees, distillery workers or anything. Adjacent to this discussion one could widen the scope and look at things like Scotch where little Scottish ownership remains and the definition of the product is left in the hands of the conglomerates and are free to manipulate it to suit their needs. I digress

On the more precise subject on Luca Gargano, I have been told by a few people prior to this incident of his kind of racist anti-vax uncle posts but I was already uncomfortable by this man's fetishization of black people, his photobooks and his IG feed are like something out of NatGeo pre 1980's, the products he puts out, his positioning as the authority of rum. Few in the rum world want to speak of it for fear of backlash, they know where their bread is buttered and if you lose Luca's connection you are basically ostracized from rum's elite inner circle.

If you want to look at what knowing more about Haïti's history provides is insight into how this country has been constantly punished for what it's creation actually represents there's a really good recent episode of Canadaland that can help with context.

canadaland.com/whats-going-on-in-haiti-and…

That was as brief as I could keep it.

about one month ago 9Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@cricklewood bravo! Very interesting material. Thank you for posting. The spirits world is quite vast.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@Victor thanks I enjoy the rather broad diversity of styles rum has to offer. Clairin might be of interest to you as you are both a fan of Tequila/Mezcal and Rum Agricole. While it definitely leans closer towards the latter it certainly has a stylistic similarity to the former.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@cricklewood, forget not that other sugar cane juice spirit, cachaca. Cachaca has also diversified and gentrified, but my favourite caipirinhas were made with grocery store cachaca which, in 2002, cost $ 1.30 per liter.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

Ok another rum review because I'm not sleepy...looks like I'm also going to cover two problematic brands right from the start sweat_smile

Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry - "A French man in Trelawney"

Blend of rums 2-8yrs old, 43% ABV

I wanted to review something a little bit more available before doing more obscure stuff and this product has been out for some time, it's widely distributed and affordable to boot (37$CAD 25-28$USD)

This release is a blend of rums from both Long Pond & Clarendon distilleries (of which Plantation's parent company Maison Ferrand is part owner) the rums have all been subjected to the company's double aging process in which tropically aged rums have been brought to France to finish aging in ex-Cognac casks for at least a year. It's a pure pot still rum blend and it was also the first Plantation release to boast a 0 dosage policy so no sugar added.

You can get the detailed breakdown of this blend from cocktail wonks coverage cocktailwonk.com/2018/05/…

Nose:Unmistakable nose of Jamaican rum, very ripe fruit (melon, banana, pineapple) mingling with those ester-y notes (varnish, new plastic bag, vinegar). Those subside after a while and you also notice it's very oak forward, vanilla, lemon, then nutmeg and almond. It's really a lovely nose, you could spend time with it.

Palate:The mouthfeel is really thin, it's spicy upfront, ginger, lemon pith, then it switches gear you get spice cake batter, sultanas, a little papaya, lots of really spicy oak. a little gamey on the back end but the whole thing is gone rather quickly.

Finish:while the main flavors of the palate wash away quickly the finish is medium-long. It's the interplay between the oak tannins and the higher ester of the rum. orange/lemon pith, marzipan, ripe plantain and a little incense.

84/100

Notes:Despite being built on a foundation of Pot still rums, this isn't going to punch you in the face like Smith & Cross, in fact this is a different beast, it's way more delicate and aromatic than S&C. The use of Cognac casks (likely European oak) and the attentive blending really showcase a different facet of Jamaican rum if we compare to other readily available standards like Appleton 8. That said the thin mouthfeel and vanishing palate deduct key marks to what is otherwise a well assembled blend.

about one month ago 5Who liked this?

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@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@cricklewood Same as it ever was. Nicely written piece.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

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